As your library moves many of its services online in response to the coronavirus pandemic, you may be wondering about the legality of posting recorded story times to your Facebook or YouTube page. The answer lies in “fair use.”
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Librarians generally don’t ask if storytelling is an infringement of copyright. Don’t worry — it isn’t. But have you ever considered why? Telling a story aloud to a group of people technically is a public performance, one of the exclusive rights of the rights holder. Rights holder could sue libraries for an unauthorized public performance, but thankfully, they don’t. Why?
The benefit of storytelling to the public far outweighs the interests of the rights holder to collect a fee. Storytelling is a fair use. Digging down a bit deeper, let’s explain why this is so.